Bristolian Jon Kent aka The Rev. Jonny Kinkaid is an indie singer and guitarist who’s most recent work, the hazy and contemplative ‘2029’, was released at the end of February via Raving Pop Blast! Recordings. Known for his guitar work in The Groove Farm, Kyoko, and Beatnik Filmstars; you’ll be able to witness the man in action at the Death Disco in Athens on May 18th.
‘2029‘ is a concept album on what happens to Winston Smith and the world after the events that take place in Orwell’s ”1984”. It’s entirely inventive, straying away from other ”1984” inspired works of music. Has this particular political climate made you reminiscent of Orwell’s world?
Hi, I think the high tech world we’ve allowed to grow up around us has made it not only easier for governments to spy on us but has fooled us into sharing information and in a way colluding in the spying. Big brother is watching us and we’re more than happy to hold the camera for him!
When did you first read ‘‘1984’’ and what was the experience like for you?
I was around 13 or 14. Music had, from an early age, politicised me. Listening to music like the Tom Robinson Band (‘Power In The Darkness‘), The Jam and Billy Bragg. So reading “’1984” just reinforced those beliefs. I think it’s one of the most important pieces of literature and the more time goes by the more relevant it seems to become.
When you started fleshing out the details for this particular concept did songs come in to play piece by piece or was it all one giant vision you had to deconstruct slowly? What was the recording process for something like this?
The way I’ve been working over the last few years is very spontaneously and instinctively. An idea will pop into my head and I will just go with it and see where it leads. I think I had one song ‘Julia 84‘ which made me think of a sequel to the book and then another song, ‘Space boy‘ made me thing of a sci-fi thing. Then out of the blue I decided to put the two together. Songs seems to fit in after that. To be honest all the songs together don’t form any kind of narrative. It’s just an idea which didn’t really, fully work but I just went with it.
‘Cloud 9’ was a highlight on ‘2029‘ for me personally. The guitar intro is an epic soundscape, among other things. As a guitarist can you talk a little bit on the gear you use?
I’m not really that kind of ‘musician’. I just use what I can get my hands on. Most the time it’s not that good or very interesting, just cheap,!. I recorded the LP on my little Boss 8 track which has built-in effects. The single version of ‘Cloud 9‘ which was a download only single on the Local Underground label was recorded quite differently. I recorded that version at Rocker‘s place (The Groove Farm, Charlie Tipper, ex The Flatmates, ex The Rosehips). Guitars were played thru a big Marshall tube amp with a variety of fuzz pedals. Rocker played all kinds of keyboards. The spoken but a the beginning is actually, pretty much, outlines the moment the idea of the song came to me.
“What is freedom? The state is losing all control and so it digs itself a hole. Don’t let the buggers bring you down. We’ll all be living underground”. The freedom zine that serializes Winston’s story inspires a revolt from the ground up. Have there been any zines to inspire you?
Not really. I just like the idea of an underground press. Words are freedom!
You’ve been a member of the DIY scene in England for over 30 years now. How has the music industry changed in that time?
A lot has changed! Mainly the move from analog to digital. It’s the same with photography. It’s made it very accessible which must be a good thing right? But it’s become oversaturated and the magic is lost.
Have we heard the last of the Beatnik Filmstars?
My involvement with Beatniks ended after the ‘Clothes‘ single. Actually that is a lie I did help engineer the ‘Astronaut‘ LP. I wouldn’t have any interest in doing anything beatnik like.
Simple question: A Dudeist Priest?
Yes. Spontaneity again. Something flipped up on Facebook to do with the film “The Big Lebowski” the next thing I know I’m a reverend in the church of the latter-day dudes. So I went with it
Could you tell our readers anything on your work with The Charlie Tipper Experiment/Conspiracy/arrest?
Check us out. It’s Tim’s band, as in he’s the main song writer. I like his songs, intriguing. Very story like. Tim’s plays bass in The Groove Farm (I insisted), Rupert who played bass originally wasn’t able to join us. Our next project is a sound track LP to the film “Blizzard“! We’ve all contributed to the writing and it’s sounding good.
You’ll be performing at the Death Disco in Athens on May 18th alongside The Groove Farm, Kissamatic Lovebubbles, and Le Page. What do you have in store for concert-goers? Similarly, what sort of energy does performing live give you?
I’m looking forward to it. Live the songs have a completely different dimension as it’s normally just me bashing out the songs on an acoustic guitar (sometimes I get a volunteer from the audience to play tambourine but that can go so wrong). They’re more like traditional protest songs and like the idea of having a live sound and a recorded sound and keeping them different. To be honest it’s a work in process. Sometimes I plug into an amp and fuzz it up. Raving Pop Blast! Recordings described me as fuzzed up lo-fi folk and I like the sound of that.
Thanks for the interest. I don’t really do photos but I’ll try and sort something out….
Photo credits: Emily Taylor Kent